Changing Perspectives and Focusing on Community
A Word From Movsi's Founder
Perspective comes in many forms. It can show up while traveling the world. It can hit you from behind. Or it can appear out of nowhere. For Aaron, it came in a more personal form. Family.
In 2001 Aaron Cunningham was newly married to his high school sweetheart and quickly becoming a successful Seattle real estate agent at Remax. He worked 80 hours a week. He was making a lot of money. He had no reason to stop. That is until his brother abruptly and tragically passed away. “I used to work all the time. I was making a lot of money and I wanted to do everything I could to keep making that money. My brother passes suddenly and all of a sudden-” Aaron paused for a moment then continued. “I realized it doesn’t matter how much money I make when I don’t have my younger brother anymore.”
His shift from profits first to family first changed his entire career outlook. He quickly went from successful real estate agent to a community renovator in the form of house flipping. “I have a passion for people and real estate is a great tool for me to help people.” Aaron’s passion warped into a desire to change and fix communities. He believed that if you can fix that one house in the community and in turn bring the value of the neighborhood up, that’s the reason for flipping homes.
He worked alongside his family for many of these projects. With his dad, younger brother Landon, and a camper van, they’d spend 2-3 weeks working to improve a home and in turn, improve someone’s life. “We learned to do things right from the beginning when flipping houses. We wanted to deliver a good product. A product that people will want. We wanted to put something together to live in and something that you or I would be comfortable sleeping in at night.”
In Aaron’s mind, it’s always been about the community and his family but he saw a need to improve people’s lives further. “The question that the current real estate industry is missing is not considering what’s best for people. 30 years ago, it was necessary to use a real estate agent because nobody had computers. Well now everyone has computers. Everyone is starting their home search by themselves. So how could we make it better?”
That’s when Movsi became a reality. “We looked at the Uber and Lyft model and thought to ourselves ‘What other industries are going to be disrupted?’” Aaron recalled. “Real estate is what we know and have done a lot of. We’ve all spent money utilizing real estate agents and paying brokerage fees. Are we wasting money doing real estate the same way?”
Wanting to provide a service and a technology similar to Uber and Lyft, they forged ahead to make Movsi a reality. After two years of development and planning, Movsi became available to the public in August of 2017. “At the end of the day, we’re helping people keep their own money,” he said.
“When we looked at our first deal, the ESCROW company sent me a final settlement statement. That final settlement said we would make about $5,600 on that deal as a broker. I called them and I said, ‘No, this person already paid. They paid their $500 upfront.’ So I thought to myself, if they used a traditional broker, they would have spent an extra $5,600. What difference does that make? For some people, it makes a huge difference. If you have a kid who is in college, it pays for a semester.”
And that will always be a driving factor for Aaron. How can he change lives? How can he help a community? How can others benefit from Aaron’s expertise? Movsi is just a starting point and Aaron is optimistic of its future and growth. “For Movsi, it’s less about making money. It’s more about making a difference."